Feb 21, 2014 12:06 PM
The Shasta County District Attorney’s office has announced that Overstock.com has been found liable under California’s Unlawful Business Practices and False Advertising Laws. The case originated after a Shasta County resident felt they were misled in the purchase of a patio set.
The matter started in 2007 after a Shasta County resident saw a patio set for sale on Overstock.com listed at $449.00. The website displayed a comparison price, which claimed other retailers were charging $999.99 for the same set. Believing to be getting a good deal, the individual purchased the patio set from Overstock. However, after delivery, he discovered a sticker on the patio table, which showed the set was selling for $247.00 at Wal-Mart.
The individual brought the issue to the Consumer Protection Unit of the Shasta County DA’s Office. An investigation was conducted into the pricing practices of Overstock.com, a lawsuit was filed against the company in November 2010 in Alameda County. The prosecution of the case was jointly handled by a team District Attorneys’ Offices from: Shasta, Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma Counties.
After the trial was completed the court found that “Overstock has consistently used advertised reference prices in a manner designed to overstate the amount of savings to be enjoyed by shopping on the Overstock site.” The court ordered Overstock to more accurately display comparison prices and make fuller disclosures to consumers. The court also imposed $6,828,000.00 in civil penalties.
Consumers in Shasta County who believe they are the victims of unlawful business practices are encouraged to contact the Consumer Law Division of the Shasta County District Attorney’s at (530) 245-6300.
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